Intolerance. Hatred. Bigotry. Oppression. Violation of human rights. Religious extremism. Evil.
These are words that I see used by Americans, both gay and straight, to describe the Church’s stance on sexuality, everyday. These are words that I see fill my email inbox describing my character because of my biblical stance on sexuality, everyday. These are words that I see the Western LGBT community hang like a banner over all things associated with the person and teaching of Jesus Christ, every day.
I know that a lot of LGBT people who don’t hold anywhere near to my beliefs, for some reason or another, still read my blog. If that’s you, I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad that you, for some reason or another, still bounce on over to moorematt.org every once in a while and skim over content that you know you’re going to disagree with. Truly, I’m thankful. Because I personally think you’re here by divine appointment. I think you’re here and you keep coming here because the Lord loves you deeply and is patiently and continuously exposing you to the hope that He has for you in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Before you curl your lip and roll your eyes at that ^^^ and click the exit tab, bear with me for just a couple minutes more. I know that you may think that the expression of my gospel beliefs and my — umm — what some may call “persuasive insistence” upon others to believe those beliefs, is hateful. I know that may you think the Church’s pleading with you to turn away from your naturally sinful desires and to trust in Christ to be oppressive and harmful.
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But I’d like you to step back for a second and consider what is happening across the pond in a land far, far away, to people like you; to people like me and you. To people who are attracted to the same sex and have acted out on it.
Yesterday, Islamic State (ISIS) released more photos of executions of a man they said had a “homosexual affair”, showing photos of a man being thrown from a seven-story building, and then stoned to death when he appeared to survive the fall.
A man, believed to be aged 50, is shown before being thrown from a seven-storey building.
Last month, two men – two gay men – were thrown from the top of a building by Islamic State militants.
“Charges found against the accused were announced by a masked Islamic State fighter, using a small handheld radio. Reading from a list, he declares the men are guilty of engaging in homosexual activities and should be punished by death, in accordance with Islamic State’s radical interpretation of Sharia law.”
This….. this is intolerance. This is hatred. This is bigotry. This is oppression. This is violation of human rights. This is religious extremism. This is evil.
The message of the gospel, the message that saturates this blog and the words of so many people out there that you might think are being hateful toward you, is not a message of “adhere to our belief system or we are going to throw you off of a roof.” If that’s what we were saying, you would have every right to be disgusted with us. You would have every right to slam us. You would have every right to try to shut us down.
But thankfully, that’s not what we’re saying. Not even close.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a call to forced submission, but to willing surrender to a ferociously kind and gracious God. We, as fellow sinners no better or worse than you, urge you to turn from yourself and hope in Christ not because we think your same sex attraction is just the utmost expression of all that is vile and gross. No. And we plead with you not because we want to see you become straight and marry a girl and live a quiet, republican-ish life behind a white picket fence (because if that’s a requirement, the Church should kick me out immediately!). We speak the truths of the gospel and urge you to believe them because we want you to escape the condemnation we all deserve and to experience the true life in Jesus. The kind of life that the best earthly relationship or sexual experience can’t even begin to be able to give you. We want you to have everlasting life. We want you to no longer thirst for love, satisfaction, purpose and joy.
The call of the gospel is a loving call to experience true life and unshakeable joy through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The call of the gospel is a call to be reconciled to a God that actually does love you.
Disagree with us if you wish – that’s your prerogative. We’re not going to throw you off a roof for it. But please, stop thinking that we hate you. Step back and look at the world and re-evaluate your definitions of love and hate. What ISIS is doing is what real hatred looks like. We love you, and we want you to know the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We will still be your friends if you refuse. We will still love you and serve you and walk through life with you if you keep plugging your ears when we talk about Jesus. Because, at the end of the day, we don’t hate you.
We don’t hate you.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.